Protesters mark Ramy Shaath's 700th day in Egypt detention

#FreeRamyShaath: Global protests urge release of prominent Palestinian-Egyptian human rights defender
2 min read
23 June, 2021
Shaath, who will spend his 50th birthday in an Egyptian jail on Wednesday, was forcibly disappeared by security forces in July 2019.
Hundreds gathered near Egyptian embassies in solidarity with Shaath [Getty - file photo]

Rallies will be held in cities around the world on Wednesday to call for the release of prominent Egyptian-Palestinian human rights defender Ramy Shaath and other Egyptian political prisoners, to mark his 700th day under administrative detention in Egypt.

Hundreds are expected to protest near Egyptian embassies in cities including Paris, Madrid and Washington, wrapping up a week of solidarity activism with Shaath - co-founder of Egypt’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

A petition urging his release has racked up over 100,000 signatures.

Shaath, who spends his 50th birthday in an Egyptian jail on Wednesday, was forcibly disappeared by Cairo security forces on 5 July 2019.

His wife, Celine Lebrun Shaath, was deported to her native France on the day of his arrest. She has long campaigned for her husband's release, backed by an array of local and international human rights organisations.

"Two years ago, when I was expelled from Egypt and sent back to France, I was alone fighting for the release of Ramy. Today we are more than 100,000 people and the mobilisation continues to intensify," Lebrun Shaath told Amnesty International.

She urged Egyptian authorities to "immediately and unconditionally" release Shaath, whose administrative detention has been renewed by authorities dozens of times, according to activists.  

"My husband's freedom hangs on a stroke of a pencil and a signature on a piece of paper, when he has done nothing other than to campaign for human rights in his country," Lebrun Shaath said.

Soon after his arrest, the pro-democracy activist was hit with a string of charges, including "aiding a terrorist group in achieving its goals" and "spreading fake news", according to Cairo's Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP).

In April last year, his name was added to Egypt's terrorism list, a designation which banned him from travelling and froze his assets. Egypt frequently designates government opponents as "terrorists".

He is the son of former Palestinian Interim Prime Minister Nabil Shaath, who served as a negotiator for the Oslo Accords.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has faced severe criticism for his human rights record, imprisoning tens of thousands of people for their political views, including prominent journalists and human rights defenders.